“And when he [Jesus] was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him, And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not. Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding. And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them. And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea. And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid. And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts.” Mark 5:2, 6-7, 11-13, 15, 17
A man was possessed with many devils. He lived in the cemetery: naked, cutting himself, and crying. By the way, those are three qualities that the devil likes to bring into people’s lives: indecent behavior, self-destruction, and misery. He also had superhuman strength. The people tried to control him with chains and fetters, but he tore right through them. Can you imagine trying to arrest someone like him? Have you ever tried to deal with someone so big and strong or so high on drugs that it took four or five cops to get him under control? What would you do if you had to deal with this man? If he broke your cuffs and ran away, you might just let him run and hope he wouldn’t return. That may have been how it was. Everyone knew that he was in the cemetery, but no one could do anything about him. They could only hope that he’d stay away.
Then something wonderful happened. As one old-time hymn describes it, “Then Jesus came and set the captive free.” Jesus could help this man like no one else could. Even the devils couldn’t stop the man from going to Jesus (“…he ran and worshipped him“). The devils knew that Jesus held command over them, because he is God and they were only angels. They begged him not to torment them, and asked permission to enter into the swine. The Lord allowed them, they fled into the swine, and the herd ran down a hill and drowned in the sea. The demon-possessed man was cured, “…sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind.”
The townspeople should have been grateful to Jesus that they no longer had to fear this man, but they weren’t. In fact, they asked him to leave, “…to depart out of their coasts.” What were they thinking? You’d almost want to ask them, “Was it better hearing the demon-possessed man screaming in your cemetery every night? Did youenjoy never knowing if he would jump out and attack you? Was it safer for your kids having him around like this than having Jesus?“
The man himself, though, loved Jesus and wanted to be with Him. Jesus did something for him that no one else could do and that he couldn’t do for himself. You may never be in such a wretched condition as the demon-possessed man, but there is something that you can’t do for yourself that Jesus did for you—paid your sin-debt so you could be forgiven of your sins and go to heaven.
If you want to learn more, please go to www.clevelandbaptist.org and click “How do I go to Heaven?” on the side bar of this page.
Brian Miller 1/30/2015
Cleveland Baptist Church 4431 Tiedeman Road, Brooklyn, Ohio 44144 216/671-2822